YES, ‘Angas ng Tondo’ also has his soft side.
As memorable as being part of the winning North team in the recent PBA All-Star game was the experience Paul Lee had when he joined some of the players during the different activities lined up for the All-Star festivities.
Lee, in particular, was moved by their trip to the V. Luna General Hospital to visit wounded soldiers, one of which managed to survive 12 bullet wounds following an ambush on his unit.
The soldier caught the attention of the Rain or Shine guard due to numerous metal contraptions attached to his wounded body.
“Alam mo yung pag may fracture ka, ganun ang hitsura niya,” said Lee shortly after the North team’s 154-151 win over South Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. “Pero eto grabe, ang daming nakakabit na bakal sa katawan niya, grabe talaga.”
The 27-year-old star from Tondo said he also previously visited survivors of the ‘SAF 44’ encounter as part of the PBA’s outreach program.
But this one really struck him deeply.
“Na-ambush sila sa encounter. Buhay siya pero nakakaawa. Durog ang mga buto dahil sa tama ng bala,” he said.
What made Lee admire the soldier more was his positive outlook in life despite of what happened to him.
“Very positive siya. Yung pagdalaw namin nakita ko yung ngiti niya sa mukha, actually hindi lang siya kung hindi yung iba pang mga sundalo,” said the former University of the East King Warrior. “Kahit papaano, nakapagpasaya kami sa kanila kahit saglit.”
Moved by the soldiers’ fate, Lee and the rest of the All-Stars are now planning to donate the cash prize they won during the annual spectacle to their cause.
The North bagged the top prize of P150,000 for winning the All-Star game, while also winning an additional P75,000 for finishing second in the pre-game dance showdown.
The South team topped the dance-off for an automatic P150,000 and settled for P75,000 for the runner-up finish.
In all, a combined total of P450,000 was handed out to the two teams.
“Mahirap talaga ang buhay nila. Pag labas nila ng bahay at suot na ang uniporme, yung isang paa nila nasa hukay na agad,” said Lee.
In parting, Lee said he has nothing but deep respect for the entire Philippine Armed Forces.
“Kami nga yung mga simpleng injury iniinda namin. E eto labing dalawang tama ng bala sa katawan, grabe,” he stressed. “Kaya saludo ako sa kanila. Nagpapasalamat ako sa pag-serve nila sa country at sa pag-serve nila sa ating mga Pilipino.”